Foo Fighters

support The Gaslight Anthem + Biffy Clyro
author PP date 21/06/11 venue Refshaleøen, Copenhagen, DEN

It's been a busy week and a half for concerts at Rockfreaks.net. Two festivals have been covered, and five separate concerts have been reviewed, all culminating in the sublime lineup tonight featuring Foo Fighters, the grandmasters of modern alternative rock, headlining, supported by Biffy Clyro and The Gaslight Anthem, two of the brightest stars from the almost-mainstream group of bands. Sixteen thousand tickets have been set for sale, and although the event isn't sold out, it must have been close to being so. Taking advantage of the festival area left behind by Copenhell just a couple of days ago, the spectacle takes place at an industrial outdoor venue with a large hill as a backdrop for those opting to sit down and view the arena-sized stage from afar. A promenade is sticking out from the middle of the stage, clearly designed for those rock star moments in mind that we're sure to get from someone like Dave Grohl. But before I dig into Gaslight Anthem and, of course, Foo Fighters, I'll let my fellow scribe TL take the pen to describe one of his favorite bands' performance as the opening support of tonight.

Biffy Clyro

On our way to tonight's show, my friends and I have been discussing whether Biffy Clyro or The Gaslight Anthem would play first, because we weren't sure. Personally, I was hoping for Biffy, since they are among my most favourite bands, so understandably, I feel small jolts of panic when around 6 PM, I approach the stage from behind and hear the notes of "The Captain" ringing familiarly from the speakers. Speeding up to the point of losing most of said friends and annoying my girlfriend (whom I'm almost dragging after me in my haste), I make it to the proper side of the stage as the final parts of "That Golden Rule" is played". I am here faced with a good and a bad realization. The bad news is that there are hardly anyone here so early. The pits are less than half full, and outside of them there are less than three lines of people watching, only the very fewest of whom seem to have any idea about who Biffy Clyro are. The good news is that the sound is surprisingly good, and while finer details, such as sampled choirs and violins drop beneath the guitars, the primary instruments pack an appropriate punch, and frontman Simon Neil's vocals are come through cleaner than the last two times I saw him. On their part, Biffy aren't doing too much by way of talking, to bridge the gap between themselves and the audience. Instead, they opt to do exactly what they do in shows they themselves headline. They beat their instruments with furious and unmistakable intent, with Neil occasionally venturing out on the central walkway to demonstrate one of the more intense postures in rock'n'roll. Except for the bright light of the early evening, and the fact that no-one outside of the pit (where we're standing) seems to give a crap about them, the Biffy show is hence much like it normally is. Songs that are part catchy, part challenging to listen to, are played by musicians who rock out with admirable energy. You could say that the band is poorly suited for a warm-up job, considering their tendency for scarce crowd-interaction, but then at their own shows things like that only seem unnecessary. And because I have a hard time determining whether my fellow Danes, who often clap equally (un)enthusiastically for things they do and don't like, are liking or hating Biffy, I can't but go by my own estimation that their performance was pretty solid. With a headliner's sound, light and audience of course the show would be in a wholly different league, but then, that really is for another night to show.

7
TL

Setlist:

  • 1. The Captain
  • 2. That Golden Rule
  • 3. Glitter And Trauma
  • 4. Born On A Horse
  • 5. God & Satan
  • 6. Shock Shock
  • 7. Know Your Quarry
  • 8. Living Is A Problem (Because Everything Dies)
  • 9. Bubbles
  • 10. Machines
  • 11. 57
  • 12. Many Of Horror
  • 13. Mountains

The Gaslight Anthem

The Gaslight Anthem have a tendency to struggle in establishing the intimate and charming atmosphere that encompasses their club shows during festivals and larger arena shows, but their excellent performance at the main stage of West Coast Riot 2011 last weekend proved that they are perfectly capable of doing so when in the right mood. Tonight, however, is not one of those instances. The usually charming chatter by Brian Fallon is reduced to a whole bunch of alrights and awkward moments where it seems like he either doesn't know what to talk about tonight, or perhaps more likely, is visibly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of people watching their set. I don't think The Gaslight Anthem have ever played for an audience of close to 15,000 people before this tour, and it shows in their performance, which isn't as casual and subtly energetic as it usually is. Some of this can of course be attributed to the mainstream-appeasing setlist choices where the band replaces almost half of their songs from the perfect Gaslight setlist' to the slower and more accessible melodies, unfortunately at the cost of momentum. Although it seems nobody in the crowd has ever heard of Gaslight (a true DR P3 audience, indeed), you can tell from the reactions of people standing around you that once the band kicks it up a notch on tracks like "The '59 Sound", "Wooderson", or "Great Expectations" , heads start nodding and minor hip movement can be detected as opposed to just chatter and standing still to the more 'boring' songs from a strictly live environment point-of-view. With waning interest, the crowd response to the end of their set is one of indifference, but then again it is always difficult to break a crowd who isn't that interested in your band.

PP

Setlist:

  • 1. High Lonesome
  • 2. We Came To Dance
  • 3. Even Cowgirls Get The Blues
  • 4. The Diamond Church Street Choir
  • 5. Old White Lincoln
  • 6. The '59 Sound
  • 7. The Patient Ferris Wheel
  • 8. Wherefore Art Thou, Elvis?
  • 9. Wooderson
  • 10. Bring It On
  • 11. The Queen Of Lower Chelsea
  • 12. Meet Me By The River's Edge
  • 13. Great Expectations
  • 14. Here's Looking At You, Kid
  • 15. The Backseat

Foo Fighters

Six years ago Foo Fighters played on the Orange Stage of Roskilde Festival in front of at least 40,000 people, but that didn't stop Dave Grohl from announcing that tonight is the largest crowd Foo Fighters has ever played for in Denmark. Small detail. A much bigger criticism is the overblown ego that Dave Grohl has attained over the years. You could argue that he has every right for that after his otherworldly performance on the vocals tonight, where he overshadows his already fantastic studio work with a rawer, louder, harder and more screamey voice, adding in "SING IT" screams and what not in between songs, but somewhere along the way Foo Fighters has become a Dave Grohl show. Screw the rest of the band, they barely get a say or chance to lead the show, it's all about Grohl storming across the stage and down the promenade, standing in spotlight telling jokes in between songs, and extending and reworking older songs to include mammoth solos and jam sessions where the crowd expects the next sing along. Generally he acts like a pompous God of rock'n'roll tonight, but then again he is a rock star in the traditional sense of the word, which has always been a huge part of the appeal for Foo Fighters.

Tonight's audience appears to consist almost exclusively of people whose only sources for consuming music are radio, MTV, and the yellow tabloid magazines, evident in their almost complete lack of response to songs that haven't been selected as a Foo Fighters single sometime in the last decade, so of course they eat it up...mostly. After the tenth time a song is interrupted by yet another two-minute guitar duel between Grohl and one of the other guitarists just to pump up yet another 'epic' climax, you can tell that people are getting restless (if for no other reason than the tired feet one gets from standing on an asphalt heaven for a good five hours), hoping that Grohl would just get on with it and deal us a selection of the best songs Foo Fighters has on offer.

To be fair, that's exactly what he does during the 22-song setlist which features nearly every song a dedicated Foo Fighters fan would want to hear. They open the set with two incredibly strong and powerful rockers from the new album ("Bridge Burning" and "Rope"), following them up directly with "The Pretender", "My Hero" and "Learn To Fly". What a start, as my colleague from another magazine told me after the first five songs, which sees echoing sing-a-longs to the last three songs as one should expect from a crowd nearly 15,000 strong. The ignorance of the crowd, however, becomes all too clear during really old tracks like "Stacked Actors" and "Monkey Wrench", where the vast majority of the crowd look puzzled and confused over these raw, old school rock'n'rollers, both of which are re-worked with extended guitar solos and spotlight-sessions where Grohl runs down the promenade to rock out with his cock out to rock your socks off, just to use a couple of cliché, but yet oh-so-fitting phrases to describe his behaviour.

The band makes use of an elaborate light show with moving lights, descending video screens and all the rage, which are of little use until the last quarter of the set considering we're only two days off the longest day of the year, which means it's light all the way until about half past ten in the evening. Coupled with Grohl's back-chilling screams and his ability to shake his body, his hair, and his guitar in a manner only rock stars are able, it becomes enormously difficult to deny the mass-appeal a Foo Fighters show has. But yet on some level I find myself leaving the concert two hours later thinking how much better and more effective it would've all felt like if about half of the extended solo bullcrap was left out in favour of a more powerful "wow" effect caused by a hit parade like no other in alternative rock.

PP

Setlist:

  • 1. Bridge Burning
  • 2. Rope
  • 3. The Pretender
  • 4. My Hero
  • 5. Learn To Fly
  • 6. White Limo
  • 7. Arlandria
  • 8. Breakout
  • 9. Cold Day In The Sun
  • 10. Stacked Actors
  • 11. Walk
  • 12. Monkey Wrench
  • 13. Let It Die
  • 14. Generator
  • 15. Skin And Bones
  • 16. Times Like These
  • 17. Young Man Blues (Mose Allison cover)
  • 18. These Days
  • 19. Best Of You
  • 20. All My Life
  • 21. Tie Your Mother Down (Queen cover)
  • 22. Everlong

You can check out a photo gallery here or in higher resolution at Lykke Nielsen's Flickr page.

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